Background: Virtual reality testing of everyday activities is a novel type of computerized assessment that measures cognitive, executive, and motor performance as a screening tool for early dementia. This study used a virtual reality day-out task (VR-DOT) environment to evaluate its predictive value in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Methods: One hundred thirty-four patients with MCI were selected and compared with 75 healthy control subjects. Participants received an initial assessment that included VR-DOT, a neuropsychological evaluation, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, and event-related potentials (ERPs). After 12 months, participants were assessed again with MRI, ERP, VR-DOT, and neuropsychological tests.
Results: At the end of the study, we differentiated two subgroups of patients with MCI according to their clinical evolution from baseline to follow-up: 56 MCI progressors and 78 MCI nonprogressors. VR-DOT performance profiles correlated strongly with existing predictive biomarkers, especially the ERP and MRI biomarkers of cortical thickness.
Conclusions: Compared with ERP, MRI, or neuropsychological tests alone, the VR-DOT could provide additional predictive information in a low-cost, computerized, and noninvasive way.
Keywords: Computerized cognitive assessment; Computerized testing; Dementia; Early detection; Psychometrics.
Copyright © 2014 The Alzheimer's Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.